I Finally Committed to Meditation

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I have never been the best at making longterm commitments—just ask every person I’ve ever been in a relationship with—or ask my friends when they try to make future plans. I’m not sure whether this is actually a newfound level of narcissism or if it actually is something that is more akin to wanting to remain emotionally detached, or if it is actually just due to the fact that internally I am rebellious, therefore everything is appealing to rebel against. I’m guessing it has something to do with that.

Regardless, this aspect has been something that has even played into commitments regarding personal health and wellness, which is why I haven’t been able to consistently meditate, do yoga, or eat salads daily. Not that eating salads daily is necessarily the epitome of health, but I do feel like it would be better than trying to find other ways of incorporating more veggies into my diet, I digress. The thing with meditation is that idealistically it sounds healthy and cool and there is a notion that “everyone is doing it,” but I have tried so many times to get this practice into a regular routine and have failed, that it almost seems impossible.

It’s not even that I am bad at meditating. When I actually do it, I have found the practice effortless and don’t even feel uncomfortable occasionally chanting, it’s simply that I can’t get it down consistently. Everyone and their mother tells me that meditation is a journey and not necessarily something one is inherently good at, but in an age where I can get almost anything I want with the tap of a finger, meditating for 21 days until its a habit is far too long.

So, in order to get over my millennial antics and actually delve deeper into something that I want to do because it makes me a better person, I sought the help of a professional at Yoga Works, a Palo-Alto based studio, who reminded me that I was wasting time making excuses for not doing it that if I just showed up and committed, I would never have to worry about it again. This lesson was also reiterated by an article I read on Manrepeller by Kristen Chen, who broke her own cycle with commitment.

All I needed to do was show up, and remind myself that I was committed to this thing—regardless of how I feel.

So here are some tips for the meditation beginner. Guys, you/me/us/we can do this.

Taking a Class Will Make This a Whole Lot Easier

in the long run. It’s easier to stick with a habit if you have someone teaching and guiding you through the process, especially if you have no sort of foundation in meditation. It’s pretty much the thinking for anything you do, foundational principals are essential to practicing longterm.

Books are also essential in this process because they will provide a lot of insight into the framework and origins of your practice. There are a lot of different forms of meditation so I find it essential to work with age-old practices in order to at least have history on your side. I recommend Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s, Turning the Mind into an AllyTurning the Mind into an Ally, or Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation, by Sarah Piver.

If you can’t afford to take a class or are unable to attend one regularly then try out some apps. The best app for meditation that I have used is Headspace. Headspace was developed by Andy Puddicombe, a meditation and mindfulness expert, he is also the voice guiding you through all things Headspace. In his twenties, he went on a ten-year journey around the world to study meditation and was officially ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Northern India and later used his findings to create Headspace. Headspace offers a free 10 days trial and is really easy to begin.

The app allows you to select your time frame and regularity of your practice which is really convenient, just…

Don’t Expect To Automatically Feel the Benefits of Meditation Right Away.

For some, this could be a process of trial and error in order for you to feel the benefits. For some, you could feel the benefits after immediately practicing. Don’t look at this as a quick fix to stress or anxiety, in the same sense you don’t go to the gym once and expect to lose ten pounds.

Don’t look at this as another form of prayer. Prayer and meditation often seem to be combined together, but they are vastly different. Prayer is a goal-directed activity, where you call upon some diety and give praise or thanks; seek forgiveness, consolation or assistance; or enter into some other relationship with a deity. Meditation is non-striving and relatively goal-less.

Don’t study under someone who made up their own form of meditation—time-tested forms of meditation are the best form and allow for authenticity in practice.

Expecting to Meditate for an Hour is Unrealistic…

for your first time; instead, try meditating for 5-20 minutes a day—but do it daily. In the same way, you would never go on a run for the first time and expect to run 10 miles, understand that meditation is a process and with consistency, allows you to progress over time.

Is there a limit? Can you overdo it?

Nope.

“I am Very Busy! I Work Non-Stop, Don’t Take A Lunch Break, Barely Get Up to Pee, Let Alone Have Time to Meditate,”

Is the biggest crock of BS in the book. Not to sound entirely insensitive, but in reality, we all have ten minutes a day. Just take the hours that you spend scrolling through Instagram on your phone and turn those into productive and transformative meditation hours.

I can almost guarantee that regularly meditating will allow you to be more productive, have better rest, and a clearer understanding of who you are, that you will be so impressed by how much more time you have in your day. All you have to do is commit to doing it.

Yoga and Meditation are Not the Same Things…

although some meditation teachers also teach yoga, and some yoga teachers might lead meditation to begin or end their yoga class. The two are not necessarily combined, and two minutes at the end of your session where you chant om is not the same thing.

The Last Time I Tried Meditation I Ended Up Falling Asleep

This happens all the time, so don’t feel bad about that happening. Meditation is simply a way to become familiar with what is going on internally with you, so falling asleep just means that you might need to get more sleep.

If this happens frequently, try doing some stretches before you sit and meditate or have a cup of tea or glass of water.

Once you have finished meditating, slowly begin to enter back into your routine or take care of the things you need to do.

I Hate Sitting On the Floor with My Legs Crossed…

it hurts my back. So try sitting in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. You don’t necessarily need to sit criss-cross applesauce. That being said, most issues regarding sitting on the floor crosslegged go away the more you practice.

What are the Benefits I Can Look Forward to?

Studies have shown that after a few weeks of consistent meditation there is increased gray matter in the hippocampus and more activity in the ACC. This translates into better memory, more focus and productivity and less stress. Other benefits include normalized sleep, boosting the immune system and feeling more energetic overall.

Again, all of this takes time, and effort, however, get over you commitment issues and just do it. The benefits will feel amazing, and then you can join all of the cool kids who meditate regularly. Just kidding.

*This post contains some affiliate links, however, this is not a paid collaboration with Tova & Wild. For more information about brand collaborations, affiliate links and more, please click here.*